That was the thought going into Tuesday's softball non-conference matchup between the No. 10 Northwestern Wildcats and the No. 19 DePaul Blue Demons, but unfortunately that didn't end up the case, as Northwestern pulled away for a 12-4 win in six innings.
DePaul (34-11) seemed to get off on the right track in the top of the first inning, as leadoff hitter Amber Patton smacked a double into left field. Left fielder Lynsey Ciezki then walked and Patton advanced to third on ball four. The Demons loaded the bases against Northwestern (29-11) starting pitcher Lauren Delaney when a pitch from the right-hander hit catcher Jackie Tarulli-Fisher. The Demons couldn't capitalize, however, as Delaney struck out the next three hitters, leaving the bases loaded.
Lauren Frankiewicz got the start for DePaul against their rivals. After striking out the first batter, the senior gave up back-to-back solo home runs to shortstop Tammy Williams and first baseman Adrienne Monka. Frankiewicz allowed another single but got out of the inning without allowing any more runs.
After recording two quick outs in the top of the second inning, The Demons bats picked up and put two runners on thanks to a Sean Plese walk and a single by Patton, which saw her advance to second on the throw. A Ciezki single to center scored both runners to tie the contest at 2-2. Tarulli-Fisher knocked a ball to left-center field, which was mishandled by the center fielder, allowing Ciezki to score all the way from first. Heteniak struck out for the second time in as many at-bats, ending the Demons rally. But the team had done its damage with three runs, to take a 3-2 lead after an inning and a half. Frankiewicz held the Wildcats scoreless in their half of the second, recording one of her four strikeouts of the day.
After Delaney held the Demons bats silent in their half of the third, the Northwestern bats suddenly became hot on this cold, dreary day. Williams and Monka led off the inning with back-to-back walks and advanced to second and third, respectively, on a groundout by Michelle Batts. An errant throw from catcher Tarulli-Fisher, who was trying to catch Williams too far down the line, sailed over Patton's head and allowed Williams to score. A Nicole Pauly single put runners on the corners. After Erin Dyer popped out to the second baseman, her sister Kelly hit a three-run home run, therefore erasing the one-run deficit and giving the Wildcats a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
After a scoreless fourth inning by both teams, both teams' power was on display in the fifth. After the first two hitters struck out, Frankiewicz helped her own cause with a solo shot, cutting the deficit to two at 6-4. That would be short-lived however, as the Wildcats put up a four spot in their half of the inning. The major blow was Kelly Dyer's second home run of the game, this one being a grand slam, giving the centerfielder a whopping seven RBI on the day. At the end of the fifth, Northwestern had extended its lead to 10-4.
After DePaul loaded the bases again in the top of the sixth, Delaney shut them down yet again, not allowing a single run to cross the plate. Northwestern put the finishing touches on the win in the bottom of the sixth with RBI's by Kelly Dyer and Jordan Wheeler. Dyer's 8 RBI on the day tied a school record.
With the win, Delaney improved to 27-8, while Frankiewicz dropped to 7-3. The Demons finish the regular season on the road this week with a game against UIC Wednesday, a double-header against Valparaiso on Thursday and a doubleheader against Georgetown on Sunday. The Sunday DH can decide the Big East championship.
Demons Lose to 10th ranked Wildcats
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